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0 Friday, December 07, 2012

Men’s basketball on positive rise at home

by Parker Burnett

The road has not been kind to the Oklahoma Christian University men’s basketball team so far this season, which made the victory at home even sweeter.

The Eagles are now 5-4 after falling to Texas-Permian Basin 63-50 on the road and surging back with a home victory against Dallas Christian. The Eagles shot 34.6 percent from the field and made only four of 16 threes against the Falcons.

Senior Will Reinke was the only Eagle to reach double figures, which he did for the fourth time this season, as he recorded 18 points and nine rebounds. The next leading scorer had nine points. All four losses have come on the road, as the Eagles have shot an average of 39 percent from the field and 23 percent from behind the arc. This is something the coaches plan to emphasize.

“We get a ton of reps in practice, so we just need to keep shooting and get good shots through our offense,” Graduate Assistant Will Chapman said. “We need to keep going inside-out by feeding it to Will and have him kick it out. He gets double-teamed, which creates open shots.”

The Falcons’ Madison Turner was the cause of most of the frustration for the Eagles during the game; he missed only three shots all game. Turner opened up the game going 5-of-5 from the field—including 4-of-4 from 3-point range—and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line as he scored 17 in the first half. He finished with 27 points, 10-of-13 for the night.

“He didn’t miss until the second half, he was hitting everything,” Chapman said. “Only one or two of his shots were open, he was hitting some tough-guarded shots from NBA range.”

The Eagles ended their six-game road trip with a prolonged stay at home. They will have one more game at home before taking an almost month-long break before their next game in January. For Chapman, the home stint could not have come sooner.

“It has felt like forever since we have played at home; it is going to be nice to be back,” Chapman said. “We got three games this week, we need to win them. Being back at home will help.”

The next three opponents are a combined 9-22 on the season. Dallas Christian was 1-11 coming into the game with the Eagles, and had lost six games by 30 or more points this season. The Eagles were close to making it seven games on Tuesday as they beat the Crusaders by 24, 89-65. Senior Derek Johnson, sophomore Willie Harper and Reinke each scored 16 points for the Eagles.

Despite the lopsided victory, the Eagles never really quite clicked during the game, but also never trailed, leading the game by as many as 28 points. One thing was for certain during the game—it was good to be back at home.

“Being on that brutal six-game road trip and not doing so well on the road trip, it was nice to get back home in front of our crowd,” senior Devan White said. “Even though it was not a Division II game, it was nice to get back on the right track.”

The Crusaders didn’t have a starter over 6-foot-6, and so were unable to stop the Eagles from muscling their way to the rim. 6-foot-8 Johnson missed his career-scoring high by just two points, shooting 5-of-9 from the field. Harper had five assists to go with his 16 points.

“We did some good things tonight,” Harper said. “We could have played better, but it felt good to get the win; it does not matter who we play, a win is a win.”

The Eagles shot the ball better in this game as they went 31-of-68, shooting 45.6 percent. But the Eagles still don’t feel as if they have found their groove just yet.

“Tonight was the step in the right direction for us; we haven’t played our best basketball yet,” Harper said. “We haven’t got in a rhythm yet, but it’s going to come. We just have to be patient and things will come together.”

Reinke led the Eagles as they dominated Mid-American Christian University Thursday night, tallying what could very well be one of his best technical games of
the season.

Sinking 27 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and six blocks in 31 minutes of play,Reinke leads the Eagles with 171 total points and 88 total rebounds. Reinke went 7-for-9 from the free throw line, and was 10-for-13 shooting. Reinke also had an impressive dunk in the middle of the second half. After getting a rebound at the other end of the court, he dribbled through a double team at mid-court and dunked over the head of an MACU player. In the process, Reinke was fouled and made the
free throw for the three-point play.

The Eagles are now 6-4, and are slated to play Southwestern Christian tomorrow at home. Tip off is at 7:30 in the evening.

Photo by: Henoc Kivuye

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